Last year the Christian hip-hop community was hit with a wave that became known as #CHHSexism. The sexism described was truly an ugly stain smeared onto the landscape of a community that is supposed to be reaching all people, not making some feel excluded. Hip-Hop, in general, is tough on females. As an artist, they are overly sexualized – within actual songs, they become sexual props and ad-libs for degradation. But the Women of Christian Hip-Hop are more than that!
CHH needs to do better and fortunately, those conversations opened a lot of eyes. Along the way, Rapzilla had a few starts and stops to try and get the point of view of other females across with interviews. We largely received “no comments” or not enough info in return. Looking back, it’s our fault. It wasn’t our battle to fight for a “think piece.” Perhaps we weren’t asking the right questions and coming up with better solutions. For that, we apologize ladies for letting you down.
But here’s the good news! Throughout the history of Christian Hip-hop, there have been several key figures in the expansion and growth of the genre. These trailblazers of different eras and styles have all added their mark to the legacy of CHH. So without further adieu, let’s take a look at five of the most influential. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so please let us know some others for a continuing series!
M.C. Ge Gee
What better place to kick this off than with the first…sort of (we’ll explain). M.C. Ge Gee was the sister of the late Danny “D-Boy” Rodriguez. He was one of the first rappers to take Christian hip-hop truly into the streets in both his sound and ministry. Ge Gee was his sister and a poet. After a little convincing, D-Boy got his sister to throw those poems on beats and eventually over wax.
Ge Gee was not THE FIRST female Christian rapper, but she was the first one signed to a label (Frontline Records). While there, she dropped two albums, 1990’s I’m For Real and 1991’s And Now the Mission Continues.
In 1990, D-Boy was murdered and the perpetrator was never found. A devastated Ge Gee was able to press on for that second album but things weren’t the same. A few months ago, we spoke to her and went into details about her and her brother’s impact on Christian hip-hop. You can read that story here.
Listen to M.C. Ge Gee Below:
Butta P is someone involved with every facet of Christian hip-hop. She came into the game with her group Rhema Soul, featuring Juan Vidal (Juan Love) and Konata (K-Nuff). The mid-to-late 2000s saw the group have a lot of success and also birth some heavy hitters in CHH.
Rhema Soul introduced the world to their producer, G-Stylez. You now know him as GAWVI. They also helped introduce us to two unknown rappers named Marty Mar and F.E.R.N. Rhema Soul and more importantly, Butta P mentored these young up and comers and encouraged them to keep pushing. In fact, this is what the next portion of her career looks like.
After dropping a solo EP, The Coronation, in 2015 – she’s made it her mission to not only speak for women but also speak life into young talent. She currently manages a number of artists in CHH and has made her way into the business end of the industry.
Listen to Butta P Below:
You’ve all heard the name. Jackie Hill-Perry is currently the Queen of Christian hip-hop. Although she only has two albums under help belt, her knack for releasing quality introspective and thought-provoking music is incredible. Hill-Perry sets the bar with everything she does.
Jackie’s album Crescendo is being regarded as a candidate for album of the year. It found it’s way onto the top 10 on the iTunes chart and proved to everyone that’s where she belonged. Her 2014 release, The Art of Joy is no slouch either.
Outside of music, she is a prolific spoken word artist, public speaker, and an advocate for tough conversations surrounding Christianity and sexuality. She weaves through each of these hats with grace, and can now also add author to the list with ‘Gay Girl, Good God‘.
Listen to Jackie Hill-Perry Below:
For those unfamiliar with the name Zane One, she was part of legendary L.A. rap group Tunnel Rats. Zane was one of two females (Elsie was the other) in a rap collective of 13 artists. She is the sister of founder Dax and the cousin of Jurny Big. At the time she was already rapping, so joining the group was a no-brainer.
Zane is known for being absolutely vicious on the mic and one of the first raw and elite female spitters that a male-dominated industry respected. She toured extensively with the Tunnel Rats all through the south and west coast.
In 2008 she released her long-awaited solo album LA Women and in a Rapzilla article from then said, “There wasn’t much encouragement from the men closest to me.” It’s a shame because this record was one of the strongest releases of the year. Since then, things have been quiet for Zane. At the time she was a single mother with a side hustle and music to be made. Perhaps it’s time to catch up with her!
Listen to Zane One Below:
Listen to LA Woman here.
Lady J has gone unrecognized for a long time, and that’s unfortunate because she’s been rhyming since the mid-80s. She just may actually be the first female Christian rapper. Inspired by early 80s hip-hop, she began penning raps at the same time as CHH Godfather Stephen Wiley in 1985. unlike Wiley though, she did not have any ties to proper resources and lived off homemade cassette taps and rapping the park and small churches.
Lady wouldn’t step into a real studio until 1993. A few years later she was creating her own distribution companies to better equip bookstores with female artists. In 1996 she also published the first Christian Hip-Hop directory. This was groundbreaking because the Internet was in its infancy, so these resources were in high demand.
There wasn’t much else to be found on Lady J except she had a tape called The Message. It is unclear whether it was a single or actual project. Lady J if you’re reading this or someone knows her, please reach out to us!
Listen to Lady J Below:
There are a bunch of Lady J videos on this channel.
Be sure to follow our Women of Christian Hip-Hop Playlist Below:
Please, let us know of more women who should be recognized and we’ll make another list!